Vasken Ohanian

Composer, Conductor, Countertenor

About Vasken Ohanian

What is Music?

         To many, music is entertainment, to others - art.  Music is a language with the capacity to move us the way other languages are seldom able to.  It is a sonic force that is capable of both rousing and calming the beasts inside us that we call "emotions".

         Since my first violin lesson over 20 years ago, I have come to appreciate just how important this characteristic of music is. Growing up as an introverted child, I looked to Bach, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky to understand myself. Singing and performing were my modes of expression.  Yes, I was and forever will remain a nerd.  As I grew older, I absorbed more and more music.  Opera, Contemporary Classical, Musical Theater, Armenian sacred & folk, Hip-Hop, Rock... I immersed myself so far into the musical world that by the end of my high school years, I began to compose.

         Composing gave me an infinite number of ways to express myself.  I think that's ultimately why I decided to get my undergraduate degree studying composition at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.  I could have easily followed the path of
my parents and studied physics, but for some reason, music continued to be at the center of my being.  The more I composed in my college years, the more I performed as both a singer and a conductor.

         It was around this time when I began to understand the ability of music to move the hearts of people.  Even as I work to finish my Master's Degrees in Composition and Choral-Conducting at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music, I become more conscious of making music with purpose, whether that purpose is rousing or calming, philosophical or nonsensical.

         Is music entertainment?  Is music art?  Is music a language? Perhaps it all these things and more.  These are the things I continue to explore.  But, what I do know, is that whether I'm composing an oratorio or conducting an ensemble or singing with the Rolling Stones, the music makes a positive difference in people's lives.  So for myself... 

Music is a way of life. 

Vasken OHanian

Copyright 2018 by Vasken Ohanian.  All rights reserved.